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IWD: Industry experts call for mentoring, empowerment of women



IWD: Industry experts call for mentoring, empowerment of women


The experts expressed their views in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria on Friday in Lagos as the world celebrates International Women’s Day.

They said that it was imperative for governments to review laws, bias and issues that limited the ability of women to thrive in the society.

NNN reports that the International Women’s Day is an annual celebration held on March 8 in most countries of the world.

It is a day when women are recognised for their achievements without regard to divisions – whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political.

The campaign theme of 2019 celebration is Balance for Better.

Mrs Agnes Shobajo, the Chairperson, Women’s Group, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), said that it was vital to increase  participation of women in leadership positions, especially in politics.

“The number of women in the National Assembly is not as much as it should be. Having just seven female Senators in the ninth Assembly is not satisfactory.

“We need more women to hold political positions so that they can articulate our issues and ensure our voices are heard in policy formulations.

“We have a lot of women in leadership positions across the various sector, and they are doing quite well in creating space for more women to climb the ladder of success,” she said.

Shobajo said that the budgetary allocation to the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development should be increased to allow the ministry carry out more programmes that would impact lives of more women.

Mrs Margaret Olele, the Chief Executive, American Business Council (ABC), said that more female leaders should be willing to mentor other women in their various fields.

She said that leveraging the experience of those already established in  respective fields of endeavour would ensure that more women were empowered to succeed, thus building a sustainable society.

Mrs Rosemary Onyebigwa, the Founder, Thrive Women Support, said that the country required a socio-cultural shift in evolving legislation and programmes that would ensure that women thrived.

She said that gender equality was difficult not only in Nigeria, but globally, and urged female leaders to lead the discussions that discriminate against women, especially at the work places.

Onyebigwa urged government at all levels to also create more opportunities and initiatives that would empower women to boost employment and financial dependence.


CBN seeks govs, private sector’s support to generate 10m jobs annually



Mr Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says if Governors and private sectors collaborate with the bank to boost agriculture and industries, the country will generate 10 million jobs yearly.

Emefiele said this during a meeting with governors of Cassava Producing States in Abuja on Thursday.

Nigeria News Agency reports that CBN also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Nigeria Cassava Growers Association and Large Scale Cassava Processors at the event.

He said the 100 million jobs in 10 years President Muhammadu Buhari set as part of his agenda was achievable.

According  to him, if all stakeholders work together, 10 million jobs can be created annually.

“Creating 10 million jobs yearly should be a collective efforts and all hands must be on deck to achieve that.

“Achieving this, the states need to be economically viable, for states to be economically viable, it means CBN and the state Governors need to partner to see how we can harness the potential that are inherent in the states.

“We need to do it so that those who are farming can have access to finance so that they can produce not just for consumption but in commercial quantities.

“For instance, the value chain in cassava production alone has enormous potential for employing more than two million people in the country if well harnessed.

“We place a high premium on cassava because the commodity can generally be used for different purposes along the value chain due to the diverse secondary products that it offers.

“Some of the products include High Quality Cassava Flour (HQCF), Starch, Sugar Syrups and Sweeteners and Chips.

He added that cassava could also be used as domestic livestock feed and for export to China, Ethanol and bio-fuels, High Fructose Cassava Syrup (HFCS), Fuel Ethanol (E10) as well as Animal Feed from cassava waste among others.

Also speaking, Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti state commended Emefiele’s zeal to develop agriculture.

Fayemi said South-West where he hailed from produced bulk of cassava in the country.

He said the states in the zone had various cassava processing plants but had no require quantity of cassava to use those plants.

On insecurity,  the CBN governor said it should be addressed as herders and farmers’ clash was still a threat to boosting agriculture.

NAN reports that the governors of Ekiti, Ondo and the Deputy Governor of Ogun attended the event.

Edited by Ese E. (NAN) Ekama

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NSIA generates N68.3bn in 18 months – Orji



The Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) has realized N68.3 billion between Jan. 2018 and June 30, 2019.

The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of NSIA, Mr Uche Orji, made the disclosure at the end of the National Economic Council (NEC), meeting presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Thursday.

Orji, who gave a breakdown of the N68.3 billion revenue generation, said N44.3 billion was realized in 2018, while the remaining N24 billion was generated between January and June 30, 2019.

He said: “In summary, the NSIA and its group made a profit total of N44.3 billion in 2018 and so far in 2019 as at the first six months period ended, the NSIA has updated the council that they have made a profit of N24 billion so far.

“This is achieved in the face of a volatile international market environment driven by the trade dispute between the United States and China as well as Brexit challenges.

“In a review of the activities of the NSIA, the NSIA is focused on its infrastructure fund on agriculture, road, power, healthcare projects and gas industrialization.’’

According to him, within the road sector, the NSIA as the manager of the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) is focused on deploying capital to ensure the completion of the second Niger Bridge, Abuja-Kano Highway and LagosIbadan Expressway.

Other projects under the PIDF, he said, included the Mambila Hydro Power project and East-Ways Road.

He announced that the NSIA also intended to deploy capital in expanding its healthcare projects, following a successful implementation of its cancer treatment project through Public-Private Partnership (PPP) with LUTH as well as a Diagnostic and Radiology Centre in Aminu Kano Specialist Hospital.

Orji revealed that Kano Diagnostic and Radiology Centre would be inaugurated in December.

He also assured that the Federal Medical Centre Umuahia PPP project would be completed in the first quarter of next 2020.

“To facilitate this, the NSIA will create co-investment fund to bring other investors into these projects to ensure their completion and the revenue model will include tolling the roads as other opportunities to ensure that these roads are viable.

Orji also disclosed that NEC had resolved the following: “One, to invest an additional 250 million dollars into the NSIA.

“Second, that the governor of Kaduna State should chair a committee of the National Economic Council to consider how a portion of the Pension Fund can also be leveraged into investment in the NSIA with possible implementation with PenCom.’’

He said the committee would include the Minister of Finance, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the managing director of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority.

Edited by Felix Ajide (NAN)

Orji on revenue generated by NSIA

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FG to upgrade Metallurgical Training Institute to standard



The Federal Government says plans are ongoing to upgrade the Metallurgical Training Institute (MTI) in Obosi, Anambra to meet Nigeria’s need for vocational skills.

Dr Uchechukwu Ogah, the Minister of State, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development said this on Thursday in Obosi when he paid a familiarisation visit to the institute.

Ogah said that with the upgrade, the institute would be able standard to train youths on different skills and make them entrepreneurs.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the Metallurgical Training Institute is a parastatal under the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development.

It was established in 1981 following a bilateral agreement between the Governments of Nigeria and Germany.

The institute has the mandate to train Nigerians on maintenance engineering with the aim of fast-tracking technological development in the country.

The minister noted that one of the country’s problems was that everybody wants to obtain certificates without having the rudiments of discipline.

He added that government’s desire was to take the institute to a level where people could develop themselves and be one of the best in all institutes.

“This is what Nigeria needs, not certificates, it is now about what you can do, the skill is what we are asking for,” the minister of state said.

According to him, this is why the Federal Government want to develop the institute in terms of skills acquisition to make people acquire required competences to become entrepreneurs.

He added that the main focus of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration was to create employment for Nigerians and to train youths on relevant skills.

The minister of  state called on state governors to send youths to the institute, adding that this would go a long way in reducing the high rate of unemployed youths in the country.

He said that government was already in the process of getting a legal framework for the institute through the National Assembly.

Dikwa also visited Igwe Chidubem Iweka the 3rd of Obosi, and thanked him for the cordial relationship and harmony that had existed between the community and the institute since its inception.

Earlier, the Igwe said that many of its youths had graduated from the institute with skills that had been useful to the community and the country generally.

He expressed optimism that upgrading the institute would help alleviate youth restiveness in the country at large.

The minister of state however, appealed to the Federal Government to consider approving grants for graduates of the institute to enable them start their own businesses after graduation.

The Igwe also said there was the need for people of the community to be given special employment considerations in the institute.

“We are happy that the Federal Government wants to effect the upgrade of the institute,

“But the institute should not only be involved in training of graduates, it should also have some grants for poor students to enable them start their own bussiness after graduation.

“I think it will be a great thing if this is done, especially for poor students.

“We have been having great relationship with MTI as host community over the years, we will want to be honored with employment opportunities,” the Igwe said.

NAN also reports that the minister of state expressed satisfaction with  the way the institute was being operated after he was taken round its various departments and facilities.

Dikwa was conducted round the school by the Acting Director and Chief Executive Mrs Biakolo Alisegwe.

The institute has a student population of over 1,000.

Edited by Ese E. Ekama (NAN)

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Why reports on whistle blowing dropped —- FG



Mr Mohammed Dikwa, the Permanent Secretary, Special Duties in the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning says there has been a reduction in reported cases of whistle blowing due to some challenges.

Dikwa said this at a national workshop to discuss the draft bill of the whistle blowing policy in Abuja on Thursday.

He explained that some people that wanted to blow whistle were no longer comfortable with the new arrangement put in place.

According to him, the arrangement entails one fills forms as part of process to document their claims.

He said that lack of legislation was also a major challenge hindering the success of the policy.

Dikwa said that improper coordination among stakeholders was a major problem confronting the policy.

“The reported cases of whistle blowing or the tips used to come frequently on daily basis when we just introduced it in November, 2016.

“When we started, we received 2,000 reported cases monthly but it has gone down drastically.

“We have instituted some measures to avoid situation where people will come and give false information and go with it.

“With what we are putting in place now, we will make sure anyone that gives information that has to do with recovery of money is rewarded.

“The same measure will ensure that those who give fake information to undermine anybody are duly punished, ” he said.

Dikwa expressed the determination of the  present government to give the policy a legislative backing for smooth implementation.

He said the aim of the workshop was to discuss with relevant stakeholders on the draft bill on the policy.

Dikwa said that the step was taken to have a bill that would be acceptable by all and sundry.

The permanent secretary disclosed that between 2016 and 2018, N594.08 billion had been saved by the government from tips, adding that 50,000 ghost workers were removed from payroll.

He said within the period under review, 800 staff involved in collection of double salaries and 400 personnel who left civil service and still collecting salaries for two years were discovered.

Edited by Dorcas Jonah/Ese E. Ekama (NAN)

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Exhibition: Local producers of beauty products pledge to strengthen other micro businesses



Some producers of locally made beauty products on Thursday said they were ready to help other micro entrepreneurs to improve and earn more in their businesses.

They spoke with the Nigeria News Agency in Lagos at the ongoing Beauty West Africa Exhibition and Conference, organised by the BtoB Events.

The Founder of Timoje by Risi, Mrs Risi Yusuf told NAN that the acceptance of locally made body and hair care products had made her to remain focused  on the business

The producer said that the organisation was at the programme in order to contribute its quota to the development of Micro, Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (MSMEs).

“I started this line of business a year ago, but I must say that it is like we have been in business for over five years.

“Nigerians now love the natural heritage God blessed us with, they prefer using local and natural products like ‘ori’ (shear butter), blacksoap and others which we produce.

“We are here at the exhibition to see how we can partner with other micro businesses and help them start their own beauty line.

“They can be distributors of our products and earn money,” Yusuf said.

The Chief Executive Officer, Shade Crown Beauty Line, Mrs Adeboyeji Ero, said that introducing new products to Nigerians was a difficult task.

Ero said that she had to partner with makeup artists to use her beauty products for clients and later endorse the quality of the product.

“We did not start out with our product line, Shade Crown was rolled out this year and what we have done is to partner with makeup artists to use our products.

“I was a makeup artist before I ventured into selling and producing beauty products. So, I know a lot of makeup artists.

“We produce powders, foundation, glitters, lipsticks among others and it has been a wonderful experience,” she said.

Ero also said that distributors were welcome at a very affordable investment of a minimum of N10,000 to start their business, which would be lucrative.

NAN reports that Lindoris Resources Ltd. was open to partner international brands at the exhibition.

Mrs Doris Nkan, Chief Executive Officer, Lindoris Resources Ltd., urged the federal government to ensure policy that would ease the process of exporting locally-made products.

Nkan said that the company, producer of skincare and haircare products based in Calabar, was ready to have distributors across the country.

She said  that having more distributors was necessary, especially now that importation of some products was being restricted.

Nkan said that it would also provide job opportunities for youths who want to be self reliant.

NAN reports that the 2019 Beauty West Africa Exhibition, which started on Wednesday will end on Friday at the Landmark Events Centre.

The exhibition has over 200 international and local exhibitors from five continents and has attracted no fewer than 1,000 visitors.

The events is co-sponsored by Lyla Blanc and Cantu Shea Butter, while the official conference partner is Compass Consulting.

Edited by Olawunmi Ashafa/Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)

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Consumer Protection Commission emerges 3rd best in ease of doing assessment —  report



The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), has emerged the third-best performing agency of the Federal Government in the ease of doing business assessment of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

A statement issued in Abuja on Thursday by the management of the commission, said the assessment period was between June 2017 and May 2019.

The commission noted that the assessment was contained in the 2019 Compliance Report on Executive Order (EO1) released recently by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC).

It said the key indicators for the assessment were transparency and efficiency.

It quoted Mr Babatunde Irukera, the Chief Executive Officer of the commission as saying “the assessment was encouraging, humbling and challenging as it recognised the positive treatment of consumers.

“This is a testament to what is possible when all work together to focus on and prioritise what is really most important and the greatest asset of this country, its people.

“I call on staff of the commission to strive not only to be the best performing nationally, but to be internationally regarded,’’ he said.

Nigeria News Agency reports that PEBEC was set up in July 2016 by President Muhammadu Buhari, to remove bureaucratic constraints in doing business in the country.

The council is an inter-governmental and inter-ministerial one, chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

Other members include 10 ministers, Head of Service of the Federation, Governor of CBN, representatives of Lagos and Kano State government, the National Assembly and the private sector.

Edited by Ese E. Ekama (NAN)

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